15 Best Things to Do in Upland, CA

Upland, CA
Hun Young Lee / shutterstock.com

Upland is a special place in Southern California with a lot to offer visitors because of its breathtaking scenery and rich history.

It became a city in 1906, located at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains in the Inland Empire region of California.

The city is adjacent to Rancho Cucamonga, Claremont, and Ontario.

Upland has a population of about 73,732 people.

During the late 1800s, it was an irrigation colony, established by George and William Chaffey.

The city is the home of the world's oldest and largest aircraft salvage facility, Aircraft Accessories & Instruments.

The city is also home to the Upland Lemon Festival, held every May.

Famous for its beautiful parks and trails, Upland is a great place to enjoy the outdoors.

Here are the best things to do in Upland, CA:

Take a Trip to the Past at the John Rains House

Welcome sign of John Rains House
Mittmje, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The John Rains House, also known as Rancho Cucamonga, is one of the best places to go for a journey back in time.

In 1860, John Rains and his wife Maria Merced Williams built the house.

They were among the early settlers of San Bernardino Valley.

The John Rains House was the center of the Rancho Cucamonga, once a cattle ranch in Southern California.

Exterior of John Rains House
Einbierbitte, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The John Rains House is now a part of the San Bernardino County Museum and is open for public tours.

Experience how the Rainses lived during the 1860s.

The Casa de Rancho Cucamonga Historical Society continuously works to restore the house.

Join docent-led tours from Tuesday to Sunday.

Entrance door of John Rains House
Einbierbitte, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the Charm of Historic Downtown Upland

Historic Downtown Upland is one of the best places to explore the history and culture of the city.

The downtown area is home to many historic buildings that date back to the early 1900s.

For those who can't function without coffee, go to Lucky's Coffee Roasters, one of the best coffee shops in Upland.

The shop has a vintage feel to it, and they roast coffee on-site.

If you want souvenirs or gifts, many unique shops in the downtown area sell items that you can't find anywhere else.

You can try the Outatime 80s Retro Shop, which sells items from the 1980s, or the Upland Antique Mall, which sells antiques and collectibles.

Once you get tired of shopping, grab some lunch or dinner at the Allegro Restaurant for some delectable pasta.

There are also several art galleries, shops, and restaurants in the area, so visitors can spend a whole day exploring Historic Downtown Upland.

Admire Nature in California Botanic Garden

The California Botanic Garden is one of the best places to learn about the state's diverse plant life.

The garden, which covers an area of 86 acres, is home to more than 22,000 species of plants, with several of them native to California.

You can also visit several gardens within the California Botanic Garden, each with a unique theme.

The garden also has a library and herbarium, containing a vast collection of books and plant specimens.

If you love butterflies, explore the California Botanic Garden's Butterfly Pavillion, home to over 1,500 butterflies from around the world.

The best time to visit the California Botanic Garden is during the spring when the flowers bloom.

Step Back in Time at the Cooper Regional History Museum

The Cooper Regional History Museum is one of the best places to learn about the history of Upland and the surrounding area.

The museum is in a 1937 Art Moderne style building.

It contains a wide variety of artifacts, documents, and photographs that tell the city's story and people.

The museum also offers a glimpse of the indigenous Gabrieleno Tongva tribe that once inhabited the region.

See early 20th-century Upland photographs, a model of an early 20th-century citrus packing house, and a replica of a Tongva Indian village.

The Cooper Regional History Museum also maintains a century-old church, built in 1891.

It also organizes classes for children, teaching them about Upland's history and culture.

Discover the Magic of Nature at Magnolia Park

Magnolia Park is one of the best places to appreciate the beauty of nature.

The park is home to various plant and animal species.

Some of the park's highlights include its oak trees and Magnolia trees, which provide shade and shelter to visitors.

The park also has a creek that flows through it, a popular spot for fishing.

The park also has a playground, a picnic area, and a basketball court.

You can also hold various events at the park, such as birthday parties and community-organized events.

There are also amenities, such as playgrounds, picnic areas, barbecue grills, and clean restrooms.

The Magnolia Recreation Center is also a park feature, with its North and South Halls available for reservation.

Try to Win at the Trapped Escape Room Inland

The Trapped Escape Room Inland is one of the best places to go if you want to try playing an escape room.

For the last two years, the Escape Room has been voted to the Top 5 Best Escape Rooms in America.

It offers a fully immersive experience, with intricately designed rooms integrated with technologically advanced and creative puzzles.

The Trapped Escape Room Inland also offers a variety of rooms to choose from, depending on your preference.

For your escape room adventure, you can choose from The Menagerie, Down the Rabbit Hole, and The Lair of the Puzzle Master.

The Trapped Escape Room Inland is available for birthday parties and team-building events with various packages.

Explore the Pacific Electric Inland Empire Trail

The Pacific Electric Inland Empire Trail is a gateway to many historical sites, beautiful scenery, parks, and community centers.

It follows the Pacific Electric Railway, a former electric railway system that operated between 1901 and 1961.

The trail is 11 miles long and runs through the cities of Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, and Pomona.

The Pacific Electric Inland Empire Trail is popular among cyclists as it is a level 2 bikeway suitable for beginners and intermediate cyclists.

The trail is also popular among joggers and walkers, offering a scenic route with many stops.

The segment in Upland is nicely landscaped and leads to the Claremont village, where visitors can stop and rest in the Claremont Colleges.

Unwind at Baldy View Dog Park

Baldy View Dog Park is the perfect place to relax and unwind with your furry friend.

The park offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Established in 1999, the Baldy View Dog Park is a five-acre fully fenced park with two separate areas for small and large dogs.

This is a perfect place for your dog to run and play off-leash.

The Baldy View Dog Park also has a double-gated entry system to ensure the dogs' safety and a water station where dogs can drink.

The park also has picnic tables, BBQ grills, and a playground.

Get Your Adrenaline Pumping at the Hangar 18 Rock Climbing Gym

Hangar 18 Rock Climbing Gym is a great place to get your adrenaline pumping.

It is one of California's most affordable indoor rock climbing gyms, with over 16,000 square feet of climbing surface.

The gym features walls that range from 30 to 60 feet tall, with suitable routes for all levels of climbers.

Hangar 18 Rock Climbing Gym also offers a variety of classes, such as beginner's class, belay class, and lead climbing class.

In addition, the gym also lets you sharpen your skills; beginners can practice on bouldering and top-roping walls.

Hangar 18 Rock Climbing Gym also offers packages for birthdays and corporate events.

Spend the Day at San Antonio Park

San Antonio Park is a great place to spend a chill day with family and friends.

The park also features the old Ontario and San Antonio Railroad Waiting Station, made of stone and mortar.

The railroad station has old photos featuring explanations of its significance to Upland's history.

Likewise, the old station pays tribute to William George Kerchoff.

He was instrumental in building the park.

San Antonio Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset and is a great place to spend a day outdoors.

The park features a variety of amenities, such as picnic tables, barbecue pits, playgrounds, and ball fields.

Tour the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art

The Claremont Lewis Museum of Art is one of the best places to appreciate and learn about the art of Claremont.

The museum is in the historic Claremont Depot near the Metrolink Station with a wide variety of photos, paintings, and sculptures.

Claremont Lewis Museum of Art represents Claremont's artistic prowess, featuring artworks as old as the 1930s.

It's also one of the best places to see the work of local artists.

Its three galleries feature a rotating schedule of exhibitions and permanent collections from the city's homegrown artists.

The Claremont Lewis Museum of Art also offers various educational programs, such as art classes, lectures, and workshops.

Established in the late 1980s, the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art is one of the best places to see the work of local artists.

The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery is one of the best places to see unique artworks.

The Gallery showcases a wide variety of artworks from both emerging and established artists.

The Gallery boasts historical and modern art, including ceramics, ancient Japanese prints, Chinese paintings, and a continuously expanding collection of contemporary arts.

The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery also has educational programs, such as docent-led tours, lectures, and public forums.

It also hosted the Scripps College Annual Ceramic Exhibition, one of the world's most prestigious exhibitions.

The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery is free and open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park

Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park is one of the best places to enjoy the great outdoors in Upland.

The park, which covers an area of 150 acres, is home to various amenities, including picnic areas, playgrounds, and two lakes.

Visitors can also go fishing and boating in the park's lake, or swim in its swim complex with water slides.

There are hiking and biking trails in the park that offer stunning views.

There are a lot of plant and animal species in the park, such as the red-tailed pennant, western giant swallowtail, mallard, and pond slider.

Located on the I-10 freeway, the park sits on a former winery.

A wooden vat used in the winery remains a landmark in the park.

Watch a Live Performance at the Grove Theater

Constructed in 1947, Grove Theater in Upland is an excellent place to watch live performances.

Built for Western Amusement Company's production company, its first show is Boomerang, starring Dana Andrews.

The theater has been in business for over 70 years and has shown many live performances.

The Grove Theater was renovated in the 1990s and maintained the Art Deco style of the original theater.

The theater has a long and rich history and has been host to many famous performers.

The Grove Theater has a capacity of 800 people, and it is located in Old Town Upland.

Today, the Grove Theater continues to draw in big crowds and is a great place to catch a live show.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Enjoy a Game of Golf at the Whispering Lakes Golf Course

Whispering Lakes Golf Course is one of the best places to go for a game of golf.

Find it in Ontario, California, 14 minutes from Upland.

William P. Bell designed the Whispering Lakes Golf Course, an 18-hole, par 72 course that opened in 1962.

Whispering Lakes Golf Course offers picturesque scenery, a throwback layout, tree-lined fairways, and small greens.

The course is on the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, offering stunning views of the mountains and valleys.

Several golf legends, like Al Gelberger, have won tournaments at the Whispering Lakes Golf Course.

It is open to the public to enjoy a game of golf, and you can relax afterward at its clubhouse.

Final Thoughts

Upland is a great place to visit, with plenty of things to see and do.

The city has a lot to offer visitors with its tree-lined streets and small greens.

If you're looking to get your adrenaline pumping or relax and enjoy the scenery, Upland has something for everyone.

You will have a great time exploring Upland, California.

Book your trip today!